Turkeys are early risers, and hunting them means waking up even earlier. So when my alarm went off at 2:45am a couple Saturdays ago, I was cursing these birds and wondering if shooting one was going to be worth the effort.
My guide and I were in our blind by 4:30am. My camo face mask wasn’t even over my eyes when we heard toms gobbling in their roosts. As the light came up,the black silhouettes bordering the field in front of us turned into green pines, poplars, and birches. Birds chattered around us, unseen crows squabbled and sounded off, a pair of owls asked “Who…Who…Who-who.”
A pair of hens pitched out of the trees, then an ambitions gobbler. All three worked the field, well over 100 yards away. We sat and hoped. My guide scratched his call. The gobbler thought no. By 6:30pm the sun was up, the hens were gone, and we were moving on.
Running and Gunning means driving from spot to spot, calling, and listening for gobblers to respond. We had a gobble at our fifth spot, and within minutes we had our backs to a rock wall, a hen decoy in the boot tall green grass in front of us, and a gobbler coming our way.
My guide scratched out a call. The turkey gobbled. The gobbles grew more assured and distinct. Closer. My old 12 gauge Fox shotgun was up and ready for the shot, even though the turkey was still a ways off.
Then there he was, probably 80 yards out, at about 3 o’clock, then 70 yards. All puffed up like a Thanksgiving centerpiece, strutting and snorting like he knew he was the morning’s big event. I took him at about 15 yards, and he tumbled and rolled as the Fox boomed and the 1 3/8ozs of lead hit home.